March 25, 2011

NLL Notebook: 'I'm Not a Savior,' Prout Says of Return to Colorado

by Neil Stevens |

Gavin Prout, pictured here during his first stint with the Colorado Mammoth that included a Champion's Cup, says he alone can't bring the team out of its funk. He was re-acquired from Edmonton last week.

Gavin Prout's return to Denver has him in a déjà vu frame of mind. He remembers the good times: leading the Colorado Mammoth to the 2006 NLL championship and becoming the all-time scoring leader in franchise history.

Prout, who says he was totally surprised about being reacquired from Edmonton last week after a season and a half with the Rush, has his second coming with the Mammoth when the Boston Blazers trot into the Pepsi Center on Saturday. Colorado played 13 home games without Prout and lost them all. Can he turn back the clock?

"I am not a savior and don't see myself pulling the team out of the losing streak," he said. "It's a team game, so everyone has to be pulling in the same direction for us to win.

"Colorado has been in numerous close games, and if I can help out with one or two more points in a game where they may not have had them before, hopefully that can make those close losses into close wins."

Colorado and Edmonton are at the bottom of the West Division and games April 1 in Edmonton, April 2 in Denver and April 9 in Edmonton will likely decide which of the two makes the playoffs.

Prout's last appearance in the Pepsi Center was on March 13, 2010, when he scored four goals in a 13-9 Edmonton win.

Curtis Dickson looking good

Curtis Dickson of the Calgary Roughnecks will get considerable support when voting takes place at the end of the regular season to select the NLL Rookie of the Year.

Dickson leads all rookies in goals, 23, assists, 14, and points, 37, after getting three goals and three assists in Calgary's 19-14 home win over Edmonton last Saturday. He was an All-American at Delaware, where he majored in criminal justice. He aims to become a police officer like his father, who also played lacrosse.

Dickson, 22, who is from Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, was selected third in the 2010 entry draft after Rochester took Cody Jamieson, who has 16 goals and 12 assists for 28 points, and Boston opted for defenseman Kyle Rubisch.

Josh Sanderson joins elite club

Josh Sanderson is only the fourth player to amass 1,000 regular season points.

Sanderson is in his first season with the Boston Blazers after helping Calgary win the 2009 NLL title and leading the league in scoring last winter with the Roughnecks. The sporting goods store manager from Orangeville, Ontario, turned 34 last month.

The exclusive 1,000 Point Club: John Tavares 1,517, Gary Gait 1,160, Colin Doyle 1,094 and Josh Sanderson 1,000.

Corbeil a two-sport star

Buffalo Bandits defenseman Chris Corbeil will have two sets of equipment with him this weekend -- one for lacrosse and the other for hockey.

The Bandits play at Minnesota on Sunday afternoon. Corbeil also is a forward with the University of Western Ontario varsity hockey team, which will compete for the Canadian championship in the New Brunswick capital of Fredericton this weekend.

If the Western Mustangs are eliminated before the hockey final, Corbeil will fly to Minnesota to suit up with the Bandits. They've had first dibs on his services all winter, but they've given him permission to miss the game against the Swarm if his hockey team gets to the title game.

Roughnecks' faceoff dominance

Why was Calgary able to outscore Edmonton 9-3 in the fourth quarter in pulling away to a 19-14 victory last Saturday?

Gaining possession off faceoffs was a big factor. Geoff Snider was 15-for-19 and Nolan Heavenor was 14-for-18, as Calgary went a combined 29-for-37. Nobody was any good for the Rush, including Scott Stewart, who was a dismal 4-for-23.

Toronto-Calgary showdown

Division leaders Toronto, 9-2, and Calgary, 8-3, clash in Calgary on Friday, and all players involved are well aware of the possible ramifications.

Both teams want to complete their 16-game schedules with the league's best record because home-floor advantage throughout the playoffs goes with it.

In the only previous meeting this season, Toronto defeated Calgary 9-8 in overtime in Toronto on Feb. 12.

Should the Rock win Friday, it would have a two-game edge as well as the season series tiebreaker. The Champion's Cup final would be in Toronto, if they get that far.

Should the Roughnecks win, the two teams will be all even heading into their last four games.

Stealth score most often

Washington's goals-per-game average on offense remains No. 1 in the NLL. Here's the rundown:

1. Washington 13.3; 2. Calgary 12.7; 3. Toronto 12.0; 4. Minnesota 11.3; 5. Buffalo 11.0; 6. Boston and Edmonton 10.6 each; 8. Rochester 9.3; 9. Philadelphia 9.0; 10. Colorado 8.9.

Grimes can score, too

Mike Grimes of the Stealth is not only a top defender. He can score, too, and leads all NLL defensemen in goals with nine and in points with 17.

East defense strongest

The top four teams, defensively, are in the East Division. Here's how things stack up: 1. Toronto 9.18; 2. Boston 9.27; 3. Buffalo 9.3; 4. Rochester 10.7; 5. Minnesota 10.9; 6. Calgary 11.2; 7. Philadelphia 11.4; 8. Colorado 11.7; 9. Washington 12.3; 10. Edmonton 13.4.

Powell still chasing Finneran

The points production of Boston star Casey Powell has waned in recent weeks, and he remains short of Kevin Finneran's all-time points total for American players.

Powell has 632 points, including playoffs, and Finneran had 644 when he retired in 2003. Earlier this season, Powell passed Finneran's regular-season mark of 564.

New Canadian league proposed

Paul St. John, the GM and head coach of the Pickering-Ajax Rock of the Canadian summer league Major Series Lacrosse, is making noise about starting up a new autumn-winter league later this year with teams in Ontario and British Columbia. This was tried 20 years ago, but that four-team loop lasted only one season.

St. John proposes a rule to speed up the pace of play by allowing limited player substitutions when changes of ball possession occur, thus requiring most players on the floor to play both offense and defense. No franchise cities or sponsors have been announced to date. Where players would come from remains vague, since most of the top players will be under contract to NLL teams.

The new league's schedule would run through April, as does the NLL schedule.

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